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Archaeological Investigation of Rock Shelter Sites on Dug Mountain, Whitfield County, Georgia

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The present report covers the investigation of a series of possible rock shelter sites along the top of Dug Gap Mountain, north of Dug Gap Road outside Dalton, Georgia. These sites were located on Forest Service land being considered for exchange (Figure 1). The sites were discovered and reported by an archaeological investigatory team from the Archaeological Survey of Cobb-Fulton Counties, directed by Lawrence W. Meier and Edward I. Dittmar, under contract with the Forest Service between October 2 and December 4, 1978 (Contract No. 53-43ZP-8-00181). The sites reported on the Government land included 14 possible rock shelters and an extensive dry rock wall, "Military Work No. 2", which were judged to be significant cultural resources worthy of further consideration (pp. ii; 28-33). In each case the investigators indicated on the pages cited here the "potential for significance" as fair, good, very good, or excellent, based on the size and condition of the shelters, but without testing them. Rock shelters VII through XX form a series of fourteen potential resources. Some shelters, because of the depth of interior floor soil (and prospective content) and the indicated quality of preservation, would be more valuable (have a higher level of significance) than others. The most potential resource, Rs VI, lies outside the project property. To be more specific concerning the level of significance of these resources would have required the survey to create an adverse impact upon the resource base. One cannot sample or test the shelter floors to obtain the required data without upsetting the environmental equilibrium that has been established through time and forms the basis for preservation. The fact that little surface evidence of occupation, prehistoric or historic, was found on the shelters' floors is not a negative factor but can be assumed to be evidence that the floors are generally undisturbed and intact. The negative evidence is that many of the floors are shallow in depth and that each succeeding occupation disturbed to some extent the levels of earlier use. Only complete and expensive excavation of each shelter would resolve this question (Meir and Dittmar 1979:34-35).